beach dress

The Best Beach Dresses for Enjoying Your Summer in 2024

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As you prepare to embark on your long-awaited beach vacation, the search for the perfect beach dresses becomes an exciting part of the planning process. While there are definitely stressful aspects to organizing for any trip (especially with kids!), shopping for vacation dresses can be a fun way to decompress and get excited about enjoying relaxing days by the ocean. More than just an outfit, the perfect beach dress can be seen as an expression of your vacation mood – after all, what’s better than dressing like you feel? Whether you go for a light and breezy beach dress that reflects a coastal vibe or pick a beautiful linen option for elegant dinners by the shore, there are tons of options to get you ready for your much-deserved break.

How To Choose the Best Beach Dress for Your Trip

When you’re looking for your ideal beach dress, it’s important to keep the occasion you’re dressing for in mind. Personally, I always find it helpful to know exactly the types of “events” that I’ll be attending when packing for a vacation or getaway with family or friends. A quick mental run-through isn’t very time-consuming, and ensures I’ll never accidentally be left without the right look!

Now, think about your trip. Do you need something that easily transitions into a cover-up for those lazy afternoons by the water? Or are you after a dress for an elegant, special dinner? Do you need something timeless because you plan on taking family pictures?

Keeping the different events and occasions you have to dress for at the top of your mind is important in making sure you have both the right amount and types of dresses on hand when the time comes.

As you look through the many options available to you, pay attention to the unique features of each dress. Things like silhouette, material, and length, for example, are all aspects we have to take into account when picking out the right style for us. Beyond being aesthetically pleasing, beach dresses have to be able to cater to both our practical and aesthetic needs in order to be truly perfect for taking on a trip.

That being said, selecting the right beach dress ensures you keep your personal style without sacrificing functionality and comfort, allowing your vacation to stay easy and relaxing – as it should be.

Now that I’ve gotten a few of my quick-fire tips out of the way, it’s time to dive right into the selection of the best beach dresses this season. Whether you’re planning on taking romantic strolls along the shore, sipping cocktails at a beachside bar, or dancing at a bonfire soirée, the perfect beach dress is waiting to be found! 

best beach dresses

Frank & Eileen – Rory Maxi Shirt Dress

Having already been around for a few years, this dress is living proof that classic, timeless pieces are always a good choice. This light and airy casual beach dress make for the perfect daytime option, keeping things chic while still prioritizing your comfort.

Available in 14 beautiful colors, fabrics, and subtle patterns, these beach dresses have become known for their high-quality fabrics and timeless design. The long, lean silhouette works to elongate your torso, creating a laid-back, California chic flair.

Linen is the perfect summer material, but other options like denim or organic voile are also great to consider – it all depends on your preferred feel and look!

Perfect to wear out and about as you explore through town or as an easy swimsuit cover-up, this dress is likely to win you over with its versatility and easy-to-style design. Wear with your flip flops and a straw hat over your swimsuit, or with a nice pair of leather sandals for a day trip through town.

This particular style might be a favorite among their clients, but Frank & Eileen also carry a variety of other dresses that can also be perfect beach styles to relax in!

The Mary Classic Shirtdress gives us the same silhouette as the Rory, but with a shorter length that keeps you even cooler during a hot day. Available in various linen and denim options, this dress is incredibly versatile in the ways it can be worn throughout the warmer months of the year.

From wearing your denim dress to go grocery shopping to taking it for a refreshing lunch with your girlfriends, these pieces will have you ready for all of your favorite spring and summer activities. 

This shorter linen version is also perfect for wearing as a cover-up, as the shorter length makes it easier to keep clean at the beach. 

J.Crew – Relaxed-Fit Beach Shirt in Linen-Cotton Blend

If you love this particular shirt dress style, this J.Crew design offers an option designed specifically with the beach in mind! This more affordable option gives you a similar look to the Frank & Eileen Mary dress, while also carrying a charm of its own. 

A sheer fabric allows your bathing suit to just slightly peak through, keeping your look still appropriate for whatever tropical weather you are enjoying!  

With a luxurious look, the fabric of this dress combines polish and comfort, giving you both an elevated outfit and allowing you to move freely throughout the day.

A loose-fitting silhouette makes this dress super comfortable for the beach, as it doesn’t stick to your body and lets the breeze pass through. For days when you feel like watching the sunrise, these long sleeves will come in handy to keep you warm and protected from the wind, too!

Banana Republic Cruz Poplin Maxi Dress

This dress reimagines the timeless kaftan silhouette, adding wide sleeves and slits for an extra dose of flair. Featuring a more relaxed fit with dropped shoulders, this style is ideal for those carefree beach days, as it can easily slip on and off as you please.

I love a striped button-up for spring and summer, and this dress feels exactly like an extension of that. Details like a collar and v-neck detail effortlessly elevate this dress for the every day, keeping things casual but still putting your style at the top of your priority list (with comfort next to it!). If you’re not as into the striped pattern, the dress is also available in white and olive green for two more gorgeous options that are just as versatile – if not more!

A loose-fitting silhouette and classic striped pattern make this dress just as sophisticated and special as it is comfortable, with a super breezy fit to keep you cool throughout your day. Need more? Deep, on-seam pockets offer that extra dose of practicality that is always useful at the beach.

Related: 5 Summer Essentials You’ll Want To Have for a Chic Look

best beach dresses

Quince 100% Organic Cotton Open-Knit Cover-Up Maxi Dress

For a true cover-up dress that will earn you major style points, this open-knit style is it. Super breezy, this dress keeps you cool and stylish at the beach, whether your plans include sightseeing over the nearest town or spending the whole afternoon with a book by the ocean.

Quince’s direct-to-consumer model also makes this dress an affordable piece that will stick with you for years to come. Made from 100% organic cotton, this piece will also seamlessly blend style with practicality as you enjoy your time away.

If you love getting in and out of the water while on your beach vacation, this dress will also earn extra points in your eyes for its ability to avoid wet stains and dry quicker than most! 

Featuring a relaxed halter top, this dress is able to beautifully complement a huge variety of your favorite swimsuit styles – coming up with a beach look has never been easier.

Related: Quince Clothing Reviews: My Honest Experience (and What’s Worth Getting)

Seafolly Faithful Midi

For a more feminine silhouette, this Seafolly dress has got you covered. Crafted from 100% cotton, this dress bets on a simple and traditional structure that can be worn in a variety of different ways throughout your vacation. 

When it comes to vacation outfits, versatility is always a huge plus, and this dress shows us why! Able to be paired with basic leather sandals, sneakers, flip-flops, and heels, there is no occasion too fancy or too casual for this design when styled – it’s really all up to you.

Any sight-seeing tours in sight? This dress is ideal for taking with you to occasions like these, making for the perfect pictures while also being easy to carry and throw on over your bathing suit as well! 

This beautiful neutral piece features a shirred bodice, tiered detailing on the skirt, and side seam pockets, making for a beautiful, delicate dress. 

Free People Dixie Maxi

This romantic dress is all about femininity. Ethereal and super flowy, this piece will have you ready to enjoy a late-night stroll by the water or a dimly lit show at the hotel bar. 

Having earned many positive reviews over the years with its beautiful design, this dress is a great option for a variety of body types as its silhouette and fabric work to seamlessly hug your body in just the right way. Available in eight different colors, this piece can also be easily incorporated with the other items in your suitcase. 

best beach dresses

Jenni Kayne Drift Dress

For a floaty feel and beautiful halter detailing, this Jenni Kayne dress is the one to go for. Perfect for tackling the warm weather in style, this dress features an extra-long length, pocket detailing, and a beautiful scoop neck detail on the back.

Extremely sleek and elevated, this piece is yet another great option for those who love to play around with styling. Whether you choose to accessorize with a waist belt, a gorgeous statement bag, or simple, dainty jewelry, this dress is sure to not let you down.

From a sleek and beautiful daytime look to a stunning dinner outfit that will have you turning heads, this dress is truly capable of transforming your beach vacation wardrobe in a way you won’t want to come back from.

Related: The Insider’s Guide to the Best Quality Clothing Brands

Cuyana Drape-Back Dress

Sophisticated, clean, and straightforward – this Cuyana dress gives you just the right amount of interest and beautiful design to keep you coming back. Made from Peruvian Pima cotton, this dress combines the feel of flowy maxi dresses with an extra touch of elegance through sustainable practices.

I love simple, sleek design just as much as anybody, but at times I definitely feel the need to style and accessorize very intentionally in order to achieve the final look I want. When it comes to this dress, the side and back detailing stand out on their own, making this outfit the true definition of great design.

Available in four different colors, this dress can be easily transitioned from day to night, keeping you as chic as ever as you enjoy your time at the beach. 

Free People La La Maxi Dress

There’s nothing like feeling truly free at the beach – even when you’re wearing a dress. Hot temperatures and sweaty days call for movement and flow when it comes to clothing, and this Free People design checks these boxes effortlessly. 

Featuring a deep v-neck detail, soft fabric, and an elastic waist, this dress is incredibly comfortable and easy to wear both during the day and night when you are at the beach. From pairing this dress with your favorite bathing suits to wearing it out for a dinner party, you’ll feel free and confident as you strut with this piece on. 

Dress to Impress: More Fashion Tips for Picking the Perfect Pieces

These dresses are not only versatile pieces you can wear again and again, but they have also earned their glowing reputations through hundreds of amazing reviews, making it even easier for you to find out if it’s the perfect dress for you. 

No matter the occasion you are looking to dress for, searching for and eventually finding the right outfit can get frustrating quickly. For any future fashion needs, let’s get into some more of my expert quick-fire tips! These guidelines are great for having as a future reference as they help you to narrow down exactly what you need – and what you want.


Especially when it comes to dresses for the summer time, look for options that can easily transition from beach cover-up to a casual day exploring or even a laid-back dinner by the water. Not only will this save you suitcase space, but it will also make dressing on your vacation a much less stressful experience.


This may seem obvious, but being mindful of the materials in your dress is another essential step to finding the right piece. From lightweight, breathable fabrics for summer to thick and warm options for the colder months, it’s important to consider how the material of your dress will interact with your environment and body – your comfort is always important!

Consider the Occasion 

I touched on this briefly, but it’s easier to ignore this tip than you might think. Knowing exactly what you need to dress for will save you space and plenty of stress along the way – imagine ending up with six beautiful cover-up dresses and nothing for dinner. Think ahead and set yourself up for fashion success!

Play with Styles 

Have fun! Trying totally new styles you are not familiar with can be intimidating, but you never truly know what something will look like on until you do. With great return policies from a lot of brands today, this is easy to do in the comfort of your own home if you prefer – this way, you can even play around with styling this piece your way to see if it’s right for you.

Think Longevity

Investing in high-quality, well-made pieces means your closet will stand the test of time, ensuring the pieces you love stay with you for seasons to come. Of course, not every piece has to be a classic investment piece, but these staples definitely become the glue to our closets over the years! Invest in the things that you feel really elevate your style and show off who you are.

Need help building a timeless wardrobe that will never go out of style? I created this resource just for you!

Ready to Pick Your Perfect Beach Dress? 

Whether you fell in love with one of these best-selling styles or want to keep looking until you find your perfect match, I hope that this post could help guide you in the right direction. At the end of the day, your collection of summer dresses is only as good as you make it! 

From those looking to switch up their style to those looking for classic, reliable pieces to update their wardrobe with, there is something for everybody – all you have to do is experiment with a variety of styles until you find the ones that speak to you.

Trying out a different range of colors, different range of lengths, and bold prints, for example, can open your eyes to styles you would have otherwise never tried. Just like any other season, having a great summer style is really about finding the dresses that make you feel your best.

Now that you know that linen is a great material when it comes to the best beach dresses, did you know that linen shines in other summer-ready clothing pieces too? Want to know the best brands to shop from? Up Next: The Best Linen Clothing Brands To Try for Spring and Summer


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.